ACS weighs in on surgeon workforce bill
The American College of Surgeons (ACS) submitted a statement for the record (available at facs.org/~/media/files/email/091417_workforce.ashx) September 14 to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce regarding its hearing on Supporting Tomorrow’s Health Providers: Examining Workforce Programs under the Public Health Service Act. The statement emphasizes that building a solid foundation of accurate and actionable workforce data is critical to making rational, informed decisions for building an optimal health care workforce. The ACS reiterates its support for the Ensuring Access to General Surgery Act of 2017 (H.R. 2906/ S.1351), sponsored by Reps. Larry Bucshon, MD, FACS (R-IN), and Ami Bera, MD (D-CA), and Sens. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI). This legislation would direct the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration, to conduct a study to define and identify general surgery workforce shortage areas. Additionally, it would grant the Secretary the authority to provide a general surgery shortage area designation.
The ACS maintains that a shortage of general surgeons is a critical component of the nation’s health care workforce crisis. Consequently, the ACS is urging policymakers to recognize through the designation of a formal surgical shortage area that only surgeons are uniquely trained and qualified to provide certain necessary, lifesaving procedures. Surgeons play a pivotal role in the community-based health care system, but unlike other key community providers, surgery has no official shortage area designation.
The ACS encourages Fellows to contact their members of Congress through SurgeonsVoice (member login required) at www.surgeonsvoice.org to urge them to sign on in support of this legislation. For more information about surgical workforce shortage legislation, contact Carrie Zlatos, ACS Senior Congressional Lobbyist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-672-1508.